On the Havelock sideline, Jim Bob Bryant is going for a milestone victory Friday, which would be win No. 100 in his coaching career.
“It’s special for me to be able to do this at Havelock, a place that I really enjoy coaching and with the kids that I have right now,” Bryant said.
Bryant also alluded to the fact that the Havelock-West Craven game is always hotly contested and is one of those rivalry games where records – Havelock is 9-1 and West Craven is 6-4 - can be thrown out of the window.
“We’re treating it like a first-round playoff game, because win or lose, we know we have already won the conference, but we want to end our regular season on a high note,” Bryant said. “Both schools are always well supported by fans and both have great tradition, and have played for a state championship in the last few years.
“They (West Craven) have some athletes and are well-coached, so we are going to have to play well.”
For the Eagles, their season has had many peaks and valleys along a bumpy ride, while the Rams have spent most of their year at the summit.
Havelock has the experience, Division-I players, speed and size, whereas the Eagles are young and undersized, but have the heart and grit to compete.
Havelock’s Pharoh Cooper and West Craven’s Demetres Abrams will duel at quarterback.
West Craven coach Matt Riggsbee knows how vital executing well in all phases of the game will be for the Eagles to have a chance to pull off a stunner.
“We know how good they (Havelock) are. We are going to have to really pick our poison, so to speak, but we are hungry and the guys are ready for the game and we are going to match our best players against their best and see what happens,” Riggsbee said.
The Eagles have already clinched a playoff spot and have renewed enthusiasm.
“Last year I was told that before the Havelock game, there were about 14 kids at practice,” Riggsbee said. “This year we’ve had everybody here, so that shows me the kids are fired up for the challenge.”